Most people will not think of the recent Census data on Parental Raising of Children in Different Family Forms as an illustration of “sex gone wrong”—- but it is. The child is the product of the sexual intercourse of the parents and the impact on the parents will last till the end of the lives of the parents… much better and benign effects when they “get sex right” in intact marriage, and much more onerous for them (and their children) when they don’t “get it right.” The chart below shows that the proportion of parents “getting it right” diminishes over time, from 63% at the birth of children, to 46% by the time the child is 17.
The second report is also about sex going very wrong for a very small, but extraordinarily influential, portion of celibate Catholic clergy. Fr. Paul Sullins, Research Associate at the Ruth Institute and retired Professor at the Catholic University of America, has reanalyzed the John Jay Institute data, United States Catholic Conference data and Los Angeles Times data to yield the clearest report to date on what happened, its extraordinary decline, and now a possible inching back up again among that few who cause disaster.
Here are three key charts from within the report for your study and your own conclusions.
The power to procreate is like nuclear physics of the atom: it is massively powerful when released — for good, or for evil. And as everyman knows, no one is immune from sexual corruption, it is time for us all to reform and turn from “defining deviancy down” on matters sexual, to raising the bar higher again.
The total population of North, Central, and South America is less than a billion. Europe’s population is much less. Africa’s population is about one billion.
In the last 100 years the world has eliminated one billion childrenthrough abortion. In other words, whole continents. World War II was a walk in the park compared to this. The US alone has aborted 58 million infants (the total population of the US as it came into the twentieth century, and almost the same as the total populations killed in World War II, the bloodiest war in human history. The “body-count” in the Holocaust pales in comparison to this, US-only “body count”. Clearly, we “do sex” wrong. Humankind has never, ever, “done it” so wrong.
In the US, for children who survive pregnancy and make it to birth, most of their parents cannot stand each other enough to live their lives together and raise their children to adulthood. Slavery has returned to the US—in the form of sex trafficking. Pornography addiction (to some degree or other) is almost universal among young men. Cohabitation is the majority’s choice despite the widespread knowledge of its bad effects. STDs are “through the roof” and are now mega epidemics — having been epidemic for decades. Motherhood is frowned upon in the academic world and most business put up with mothers only because they are forced to if they want female workers. The list could go on and on— and that is without going near what is being taught and not taught in churches— of all denominations!
As a society we have really lost our way. Leaders in all institutions have lost their way or their courage. There are some who know how to “do it” but most don’t, or are afraid, and public schools and academia are not only totally lost, they lead down the wrong and debilitating path — even in the face of overwhelming data. Proof? Just look around you.
Where do we start to rebuild?
This rebuilding starts with men — with fathers in particular.
The fundamental correction involves all fathers taking back from everyone else the sexual education of their sons. Mothers need to do the same for their daughters. However, the sine qua non is that fathers become the sexual tutors of their sons, because, given the nature of males, men have much greater and difficult task to achiever bringing their sexual impulses under total control.
The program is simple: Every father worthy of the title, wants his son to end up happily married to the girl of his dreams and wants to show him the way to pull that off. This is what fathers do: make men out of their boys.
Now that presents a difficulty because most fathers, today, have not achieved that status or have lost it: they aresingle or married to some other woman. Thus, they are quite handicapped in giving what they do not have. However, let us leave that major difficulty to the side for the time being and focus instead on what has to be achieved: Lifelong marriage of a boy to the girl of his dreams.
As a nation— as a culture— we either go for this or we break apart into factions, because sex — at every level of social organization, from the couple to the polis— either powerfully binds us together or powerfully splits us apart. Those who do not go for the gold of lifelong marriage, ultimately, are prepared that our nation be split into pieces. Too strong a claim? What happens to families after divorce? Multiply that by millions and then by two or three generations and then you have a nation and culture falling apart. The choice is not just and individual choice it is a political one (in the pure sense of the polis).
Feminists and lots of other women are clear on what they don’t want men to do sexually, and they are right! But they are NOT clear on what they want men to DO. And without a clear destination anyone is lost. So, feminists, though correct in their attacks on predation, are totally wrong on the nature of sex. There is only one destination that makes sense of sex: Sex is meant for marriage and procreation— procreation within marriage— both entwined. There are lots of secondary derivative purposes and benefits but these two, procreation within marriage, are non-negotiables if we are to avoid social chaos, and if justice is to be done to every child, and if we are to be a people who want justice for every child.
Maybe the biggest natural barrier to achieving this justice is a universal fact about being male: for every man a huge portion of females are physically attractive to him— and will remain so throughout his life, no matter his marital status. Men see, and immediately register, the beauty and attractiveness of every female before they know anything else about her. And if a man permits himself to pursue that attraction to its logical end (intercourse) he can be in big trouble for the rest of his life, and worse still, he will have caused chaos in the lives of the woman, her extended family, his own extended family, and in particular, and most disastrously, will have severely damaged the children that result from that intercourse (either eliminating them in abortion or leaving them with split parents for the rest of their lives – and the grandchildren’s lives.
The only way that sexual attraction can be properly handled is by channeling it towards one person only — the future bride. Finding her is a long and delicate process for which a good father is the best guide, by far.
The journey to the bride starts in childhood. It used to start in adolescence for most of human history but now, with pornography being universally and aggressively obtrusive, it starts for boys around age seven or eight, because with his first exposure to it he is beginning to go down the right path or the wrong path.
(By the way – I am all for the death penalty for pornographers. The human suffering unleashed by pornography is so large it is beyond comprehension.)
Back to the task: fathers now have to begin tutoring early if they are not to be too late. By age 7 or 8 it is already urgent and assumes a good level of affection between father and son for this next phase to be successful.
The good father lets his boy know (despite his son not yet being interested in girls) that he wants him to end up as a great young man with a beautiful young wife who will be his companion and best friend for life. Even the father who has failed to achieve this for himself can lay this out for his son.
Gradually – and differently for each son – he leads him to understand the fundamental complementarity between male and female; that this complementarity between his mother and father brought him into existence and an even greater complementarity and unity between them is needed to raise him to be a great young man. The father reminds his son that he exists because he, his father, used his sexuality to bring him into existence! (This is a most powerful lesson each modern boy needs to hear from the lips of his father. Without this exchange a father is neglecting the growth of his son). He lets his son know that his father, and he alone, is the one to guide his son in teaching about sexuality and that his son should take it from no one else unless his father says it is OK. He even goes so far as to teach his son how to demand this as his (the son’s) right in the classroom and any other place. He teaches his boy how to be a modern warrior — and gentleman — in these sexually hostile times.
The father paints, repeatedly, the goal of the great woman to be won over – by his son being a great man. He teaches him that in this domain “like attracts like!” He cannot have a great woman without being a great man. It is impossible. (At the same time the boy’s mother is teaching the same lesson to his sister).
The father teaches his son that along the way there are many traps and snares for every man; that there always has been and always will be. The first snare that modern boys confront is pornography — new, modern and powerful in its intrusiveness and alluringness (that is what makes it a snare). The father tells his son (at the appropriate time) how he combats his own temptations to look at pornography. He does it in a way that invites the son to lean on his father for help whenever that struggle is present – and it will be. The father promises to protect him within the home and at school but tells him he has to learn how to protect himself when his father is not around. And he reminds him constantly that all this is for the sake of that wonderful girl he is going to win some day. The purer his heart the stronger it will be and the more easily she will sense it and be attracted by it. And he in turn will be able to recognize a woman with a similarly pure heart – ready to give it to the right man but only to the right man and only to one man!
Anybody with an ounce of sense will agree with the above. Anyone who does not is an enemy of children. Harsh? Yes — but true and fundamental to a just and peaceful society.
In all my years working with couples and families, with data and research, with evaluating programs and trying to figure out how best to help couples and families, I have concluded that nothing is more fundamental in the cycle of life and of nations than that the father be the one to induct a boy into sexuality. No one else. All else is fraud — dressed up no doubt, but fraud.
Given this, I think it is time for another Revolutionary War. This war is not fought with guns (though, if it is not won there will be a war with guns). It is the revolution by which fathers take back from everyone else, no matter who they are (teachers or clergy), the sexual education and formation of their boys.
We all love appropriate battle cries, such as New Hampshire’s “Liver Free or Die”. The one every father needs close to his heart (and on his lips when need be) is “Keep your hands off my son’s sex!”
If we get enough fathers taking “sex ed” (it really is sexual malformation) back out of the schools (public and private, denominational or secular) we can change America. If we don’t we lose it.
Too simple? No, no matter the difficulty of doing it. I see nothing more foundational than this in the cycle of human existence, handed on from one generation to the next.
(By the way, this is the ultimate reform the Catholic Church needs to rectify its own house on sexual ethics for all vocations—for marriage, priesthood, religious celibacy or single lay life. It was the “program” proposed in plenty of time by Pope Pius XII back in the 1950’s. It is a pity of historical proportions that Catholic bishops and religious teaching orders did not take that to heart.)
May fathers take back the formation of their sons’ sexuality from everyone else! It belongs to no one else. If anyone wants to do any “sex ed” let them help fathers and mothers do it — and most of them will need help to do this well. But any other forms of sex ed is only adding to the problem. Proof? Just look around you.
It is already very late. It is time to start this New Revolution.
Recently, during a long taxi ride from Los Angeles airport I had a memorable conversation with the driver, a Muslim from Afghanistan. After the usual mundane topics, we started discussing what makes for a good clergyman, then discussed confession, repentance, forgiveness and freedom.
It was wonderful to hear him talk about staying close to God, and of his need for prayer in his pursuit of freedom of heart (his often-failing struggle to become free from habits of sin, even small ones) through the help of God. This was particularly striking because a week before this, I had dinner with a public figure with whom I discussed the impact of marriage on the nation and especially on the economy. I think the taxi-man knew more about the nature of personal freedom to do the good desired (the lack of which stifles and even kills many marriages) than did this great defender of economic freedom, who confines freedom to the level of politics.
The taximan said the clergy should not be hypocrites, complaining that some (his own religion included) destroy their effectiveness and do more harm than good. He wished they would step aside for someone authentic and said young adults making life choices about God and religion need good folk to imitate. Good clergy are essential, he said, if the millennial generation are ever to be prayerful. They are not inclined to put up with hypocrites.
This led to the nature of personal reform and the benefit of confessing one’s sins. He understood Catholic confession and, marveling at the “seal of confession”, got right to the heart of it when he said that “a change of heart” (repentance) is the sine qua non of a good confession. Thus, he identified a universal that applies to this sacrament: the intention not to sin again.
This whole taxi experience reminded me of a passage in a ‘walking the Bible narrative’ where the young Jewish author spoke of an exchange with a Muslim woman in a bazaar in Egypt. He asked her what was the most important lesson life had taught her. Her instantaneous response was “the power of prayer.”
Speaking of prayer: Our Managing Editor (who, among many things has also been the builder of Marripedia and the MARRI website) is starting on the road of life-long prayer and penance: she is entering Mount Carmel, an order of contemplative nuns. MARRI is guaranteed prayers! Pray that she be a holy nun. May her prayers help us on the outside.
[We will resume Faith and Family Facts in the second week of the New Year.]